It was over dinner the other night. Pam and I were at the table with our three kids (ages 6, 3, and 3). Lyla, one of the twins, was singing at the table. While I love it when she sings, I told her she needed to stop singing and eat her dinner.

Her reply?

“I have to sing.”

As soon as she said it, I thought to myself, “Me too, sister. Me too.”

Chances are you’re the same way. Maybe for you it’s not singing, but there’s something. There’s a reason you got into music and recording. But with all the plugins and tutorials and microphones and YouTube channels, it’s easy to forget.

Whether you have a huge, impressive home studio or haven’t started yet, here’s a question you need to ask yourself:

What is your “have to”?

What do you “have to” do?

Lyla said, “I have to sing.”

What would you say?

Like most people, I got into audio because I wanted to be a rock star. I wrote songs and wanted to be able to record them. It made sense.

I’ve shared this before, but it fits here. When I first got into recording, I had the worst of the worst gear. I didn’t know it, and I didn’t care. I was recording everything I could. A couple years later I owned a “proper” audio interface, and I essentially stopped recording. Sure, I did the occasional session for a friend, but for some reason once I began learning the “proper” way to record things, I stopped actually making music. Ironic, right?

I lost my “have to.”

Don’t be like I was. Don’t become so enamored and obsessed with the technology that you lose the art.

Perhaps that means limiting your technology and focusing on just the art for a while. Perhaps that means not doing everything yourself and collaborating with others.

For example, my buddy Allan hired me to produce his EP. He’s a really smart guy and is certainly capable of buying a small home recording rig and doing it himself, but he told me, “I have no interest in that.”

He wants to write and play songs. That’s it. That’s his “have to.”

While you and I may love the technology, let’s not forget that it was the music that led us to the technology. And music should run the show.

Go find your “have to” and DO THAT.

Joe Gilder
Home Studio Corner

P.S. If this email resonated with you, you would LOVE being a VIP member. For just $10/month, you get access to a huge backlog of training videos, plus access to the regular challenges we do to keep ourselves sharp. So far this year, I’ve posted videos documenting:

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  • I can certainly relate to this! I was originally a musician first, but got more and more interested in the technology side as a kid when my bandmates started studying music tech in college and recording our music. Ended up going down this route too, taking a degree and the rest is history.

    But it was the music first. Hammering out on those drums with my friends. Technology offered the opportunity to record my own ideas and then, over the years, one thing led to another and I became an engineer, recording other musicians. I love both sides, but I have to admit at one stage I did start to forget why I got into it in the first place!

    I’ve also fallen into the ‘gear trap’ in the past…easily done! Always thinking the next piece of equipment would give me ‘that sound’. It didn’t take me long to figure out that it was my ears that needed the investment 😉 I’ve got a much more minimal setup these days!

    Great post Joe!

    • Thanks for reading, Luke.

      • John Msuha

        Truly touched me bro…before attaining some advanced skills I had so
        much interest and pressure to make my music, but as my skills are
        growing all I do is procrastinating , furthermore reference mixes limit
        release of any of my project until am bit close